Exhibit mixes literature and art

Published 10:53 pm Thursday, September 11, 2014

Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little House on the Prairie.”

Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven.”

Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own.”

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They were defining works for me in my childhood, my teenage years and my college years, respectively. The “Little House” series was the first chapter books I remember reading. And reading. And reading. And reading. And, when I had finally memorized all the words, coloring the line drawings included in my box set.

In my early teens, I discovered Edgar Allan Poe and began gravitating toward darker fiction. I memorized “The Raven” so well I could recite it at one point in my life.

In college, “A Room of One’s Own” was assigned reading, and it was among the discoveries that cemented my love for British literature over American. (Sorry, Laura and Edgar!)

I was excited to discover that all three of these works, and 20 others, were chosen by local artists to be re-imagined for a show on display at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts through Nov. 8.

Using a variety of media including felting, oil, photography and mixed media, the artists provide a look into the soul of books that were important to them. They chose the books from among a list of 100 modern works and classics developed by the city’s tourism department.

Besides the three I mentioned, other works re-imagined include “Alice in Wonderland,” “Marley and Me,” “The Old Man and the Sea,” “The Wizard of Oz,” “Gone with the Wind,” “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” “Anne of Green Gables,” “Adventures of Sherlock Holmes,” “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” and more.

I recommend a visit to the gallery exhibit for anyone who loves books, art or both. You’ll be amazed with what some of the artists came up with.

The “Mystery of a Masterpiece” exhibit coincides with the “Mystery of a Portrait” exhibit in the Suffolk Center’s other gallery. Containing oil portraits by Phoebe W. Brooks, assistant to the deputy director for collections and facilities management at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the portraits have a mystery all their own.

Finally, the end of both exhibits on Nov. 8 will coincide with a daylong festival with authors of the “cozy mystery” sub-genre, held at the center from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The authors will participate in book signings, readings, meet and greets, workshops and a moderated author panel discussion.

For more information, call 514-4130.